Mexico, Veracrus mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Elder Horrocks will be serving in the Mexico, Veracrus mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It's all about the members

Hey everybody!

This letter may or may not be slightly boring for you guys because this week really wasn´t all that eventful. We went on splits and had do to interviews for other missonaries´ baptisms, but that´s about it. I´ll go into a little more detail with those I guess. Oh, we also had a zone conference where we heard from 2 members of the seventy. We heard from Elder Alonzo and Elder Ortíz. Elder Alonzo spoke about how we can improve our missionary work and Elder Ortíz spoke about the importance of remaining missionaries after we return home. Both very good talks. After the conference we started the splits. I went to Tlacojalpan, the only other area in my district with an Elder Espinoza (what a coincidence huh?). He was really cool and we had a good conversation at the end of the day. We also met with his investigators that got baptized this Saturday. Those were the people that we ended up interviewing right before their baptismal service. However, by "we" I really mean Elder Wheeler because only the district leaders conduct the baptismal interviews. It took about 2 and a half hours because it was a family of five being baptized and they all needed individual interviews. It was cool though because I took the time to play the piano in the chapel we were in. It was really nice to play again to say the least. I forgot to mention: one cool thing about the splits was that we had to cross the river Papaloapan. We crossed it in a big barge type thing. It was big enough to fit about  8 cars on it plus plenty of room for people on foot. It was pretty neat and I took some pictures. Saturday night we also had a ward activity that was kind of like Minute to Win It games. That was pretty fun too. I  think the members had a good time, but unfortunately we only had two non-members there. It was a bit of a bummer considering that the purpose of the activity was to invite non-members. Oh well, whatcha gonna do? I also got to practice more piano on Sunday. I played during the sacrament meeting, but only with the right hand. I didn´t have enough practice to play with both, but it turned out okay. I´ll probably be playing consistently during the meetings while I´m here. At one point we were waiting to talk to the bishop so I started practicing sight reading the hymns with both hands. I actually surprised myself by doing better than I expected. I think that with some more practice I´ll be able to play most of the hymns. Neat!

Now... after that huge block of a paragraph... I´ll answer the few questions I received from Dad.
Things with my companion are better. I´ve been a bit more patient with his quirks and they don´t bug me as much anymore. I´m trying to judge people less because I know I´m not perfect either. I´m still not entirely sure how he is as a missionary because we have been doing more things with the members than teaching investigators. Anyways... the new house is pretty nice but this week was a little rough. The house in on the second floor and it has plenty of windows. The only problem is that these windows have nothing but bug screens... and we had another Norte. It got pretty chilly with the wind blowing through. I had to sleep with extra blankets for once. :P Other than that there´s no problems. It´s a lot cleaner and there are no bugs. We do have one little lizard that we´ve been trying to catch, but no such luck. Maybe we´ll get him this week. Speaking of lizards.... the sister that lives below us showed us what she was going to be cooking for her dinner tonight. An iguana. It was pretty darn big too. It was still alive and everything but it´s legs were all tied up. We took a couple pictures with it. Who knows, maybe she´ll invite us to try some of it. :P
As far as seeing the sights goes, we haven´t done to much of that... mostly because there´s not too much to see. It´s mostly sugarcane fields around here. It´s pretty nice though because it´s a bit calmer than the city and a bit more like home. :) Overall, I really like the area and the ward, but I sure hope we find some people to teach and baptize soon.

I want to bear my testimony that this church is absolutely true. The Book of Mormon is proof that God loves us and speaks to us. I know that we have a living prophet who guides this church. I know that true happiness in this life only comes through living the gospel. I urge you to stop and take a look at your life for a moment. If there is a commandment you are not living fully or a church calling that you are not magnifying, take the time to do it. By keeping the commandments and helping others to do the same, we receive countless blessings from our Heavenly Father. I also want to stress the importance of daily prayer and scripture study. These are the ways that we communicate personally with our Heavenly Father. If we aren't doing these things then we are shutting the door to personal revelation. The amazing thing about the gospel is that it's never too late to improve or start anew. That's why we have repentance. I know that Christ is the Savior of the world and that through Him we can receive a remission of all our sins. Once again, the church is true!

I love you all and hope all is well with you. I can't wait to return and spend time with you all. Stay strong in the Gospel!

Elder Sean Horrocks

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Companion and a New Area

Hello from Carlos A. Carrillo, Mexico!

Okay, I´ll get right in to describing my new companion and my new area since that´s what most people want to know. My area is pretty darn cool. It´s a town that grew up around a sugar factory, so that´s where a lot of people work. There are sugar cane fields for miles around my area and there are tractors constantly bringing in their crops to the factory. It´s a fairly small town and the only big store is a Super Che which is a Mexican supermarket. It´s a really pretty area that´s fairly close to nature, but the factory makes things a little more interesting. It´s constantly spewing out black smoke out of five huge smokestacks. Depending on the wind, you might get some "black snow". It´s not much, but occasionally you´ll get ash falling on you and usually if you leave a window open you´ll end up with ash in your house. Speaking of which... I´ve lived in three different houses this past week. And here comes the whole story of my first couple days:

I took a 2 and a half hour bus ride to get to Tuxtepec, the area of my zone leaders. The bus ride was actually kind of nice and relaxing.  I got off the bus and met my companion then we took a cab to the zone leaders house. Then I found out that my companion is sick with salmonella (however you spell that) and needs to rest... not the news I really wanted to hear, but whatcha gonna do? Also, we had a zone meeting the next day so we spent the night with the zone leaders. After the zone meeting, my companion needed to see the doctor in that area. The problem was that the doctor was only going to be in at 9 p.m. and later. So we ended up spending the entire day at the zone leaders´ house while my companion recuperated. I took the opportunity to study and write a couple letters. The next day we took another bus to my area Carlos A. Carrillo. That bus ride lasted about an hour then we took a taxi to our house.

So I get there and my companion tells me that we´re changing houses. He had already found one, but we needed to actually do the moving part.  We didn´t have time to do it that day so we slept there. The next day we changed houses and went on splits. We had to clean out at least a year worth of old missionary garbage and move all our stuff. Almost everything was covered in either dust or sludge of some kind. We moved in the morning then I went on splits with some return missionaries from the ward. We visited members and got a few references. We also spent some time organizing and cleaning in the new house. Now, the old house had mice and huge spiders running around which is one of the reasons we left. All these critters were coming from the "backyard". It was pretty much a jungle and missionaries had been throwing their trash back there and burning some of it. Sooooo, we ended up cleaning that all up today. We went back there with machetes to chop down all the weeds and trees (small ones) and took all the trash to the "dump". The dump was pretty much just a field where you dump your garbage and set it on fire. It was just a ton of garbage with millions of flies, vultures, and a pack of stray dogs. It was like looking out into a post apocalyptic wasteland. It was interesting to say the least.

Anyways, the only day we worked the entire time was yesterday. We visited more members and had one lesson with an investigator that went pretty well. Elder Wheeler and I teach fairly well together. He´s been here one transfer already, but doesn´t have too many baptisms here. He´s a good worker and I know we´re going to baptize together. The ward here is super good and they´re already giving us references. We´ll be working very closely with the ward leaders and the members. It should be a lot of fun. :)

I think that´s it as far as new things go. I´ll let you know if anything interesting happens. I took a few pictures, but the internet cafe we´re in doesn´t have the right stuff to let me upload my photos. 

I´ve got a lot of work to do and it might be challenging at times, but I know that I´m here for a reason. I have no doubts that this work is guided by the Lord through our prophet and mission leaders. I know that this church is true and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. If we live this Gospel, we´ll find the most happiness possible in this life. I love you all and hope all is well. :)

Elder Sean Horrocks

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tuxtapec, Here I come!

Hey family!

I'll get straight into the information you all want to know. I'm having transfers this Tuesday (tomorrow) and I'm going to a zone called Tuxtapec. My new companion is another gringo named Elder Wheeler. He's from the same generation as my current companion Elder Westhoff. I hear he should be pretty good. Tuxtapec is about a three hour bus ride away towards the west and the south a little. I'll be heading out to the bus station with some other missionaries at about 9:30 in the morning. I'm excited to have a new area and start off fresh, but I'm going to miss the people I've met here in 5 de Mayo as well as my companion Elder Westhoff. We only had six weeks together but he's definitely become a good friend and I'm going to miss him. Oh well, we all gotta move on at times and we'll keep in touch anyways.

So that's the big news. There wasn't much else that happened this week. We still didn't get any references from the ward so we ended up contacting... a lot. We contacted 180 people this week and those are only the people that listened to us or opened their doors. My companion and I have never contacted that many people. In six weeks we've spent together, I wouldn't be surprised if we've knocked on a thousand doors. Unfortunately, we haven't found anyone that's too promising. We met one guy named Hector that was golden. He accepted everything we said and you could see in his eyes that he was just getting it. However, he's leaving for Italy next week and won't be back for two months. Bummer... not to mention I wouldn't be here anyways. It's kind of sad that Elder Westhoff and I never baptized together, but at the very least, he really helped me to enjoy my mission more. More importantly, he taught me how to work. Now all I got to do is continue working for the next 18 months! I think that one thing I was supposed to learn from this transfer is how to continue working despite the results you may get. We didn't have any results in the terms of baptisms, but we certainly worked our tails off! I have absolutely no regrets about this transfer.

Any ways, I'm going to address your e-mails now.

Kayla: My resolutions this year are to continue working diligently and to be happy no matter what conditions or situations I'm placed in. I also want to read through the Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel completely in Spanish. Other than that, I just want to continue onward in the work. :)  I love you 'sis!

Max: You're an awesome guy and I'm really proud to call you my brother. I'm really looking forward to hanging out with you after the mission! Start making a list of things you want to do! Keep up the good work bro! Love you!

Kaz: Congratulations on your good grades! That's definitely something to be proud of. I hope you're also taking the time to have a little fun now and then. Don't get too caught up in the video games! Also, take a little time to tell me more about what's going on in your life. I love you and I want to hear more from you! You are a good person and people say nice things about you. (Say in Caboose's voice) But seriously, you're pretty awesome. Enjoy your time with the family! Keep being the nice boy you are! I love you!

Mom: The weather has actually been a little nippy down here as well because we've had another Norte. I actually got a little chilly last night, because I had packed up my blanket already! (Don't worry, I'm fine) ;)  I love you Mom and think about you every day! I'm sending a big hug and a kiss with this e-mail. :) I love you with all my heart!

Dad: I was actually thinking about riding the snowmobile when I got home. Oh well! It's just funny that right when I started thinking about that, it got sold. Huh, life’s kinda funny that way. ;) That shrimp and lobster sounded really good. Some members actually served us something similar. It was like a soup with shrimp and half a crab in it. It was super messy to eat but really good. I just want to thank you for all the advice and love you send me over the e-mails. They really brighten up my days and I appreciate them more than you know. I can't wait to get home and just have a nice long conversation with you. For now, just know that I love you and that this church is true. I love you tons!

I don't have anymore time so that's all for now! Love you all!

-Elder Sean Horrocks

 Elder Horrocks, Elder Dean and Elder Watson in Mexico

Elder Horrocks new friend, Elder Shreiner

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy New Year 2013!

Hey! Listen!

This week was fun but a little rough at the same time. It was cool to spend Christmas here in Mexico because I got to see how it's celebrated over here. Unfortunately, the majority of the population just use it as an excuse to get drunk and eat more than usual. Of course, people do that in the States too, but not so much in Utah anyways! Nobody really wanted to let us in to talk on Christmas so we just asked if we could sing a Christmas hymn then left. It was kinda nice because I like to sing. On Christmas Eve we got to eat with a family in the ward and it was a ton of food! They made BBQ and lasagna and some other kind of meat (similar to BBQ) and spaghetti verde. It was all delicious and for the drink we got 7-Up with grenadine in it! Before the dinner we had a bit of a family home evening with them. That was a lot of fun too. Overall, it was a super nice evening. The week was a little rough, though, because we didn't find many new people to teach. Also, a lot of our investigators weren't around to teach because they left for vacations. It was just a slow week so I'm kinda glad the holidays are coming to a close so we can start finding people again. Sorry there's not much to tell about this week, but honestly not much happened. Yesterday was interesting though... we got yelled at by three different people within the same half hour. That's pretty nuts because we rarely get yelled at. First, a random guy on the other side of the street started yelling swear words at us in English for no apparent reason. Then a guy yelled at us when we knocked on his door. He yelled "No queremos nada!" which means "We don't want anything!". After that, a group of teenagers saw me trip and started making fun of me and called me Satan. All these things were a little discouraging at first. I kept thinking "Why are these people so mad at us for trying to preach about God and his Son?" However, I know that there's opposition in all things. If there weren't, we wouldn't appreciate the good things in life. Afterwards, I actually felt good that they had all yelled at us. I've learned that when we suffer a little in the mission, we are standing shoulder to shoulder with Christ. What he did for us was much harder. To quote Jeffery R. Holland, the mission is hard sometimes because "Salvation was never easy." I know that what I'm doing here is exactly what the Lord wants me to do. I may be rejected by the people, but the Lord wants them to be warned. He wants them to return to Him just as much as he wants you or me to.

Well enough rambling. I'll get to answering questions for now.
Mom: We haven't received too many new missionaries that I'm aware of. I'm thinking that a lot of them will start flocking in around the next two months due to time in the MTC, but who knows? The mosquitoes aren't a problem right now. I just had one night where we didn't have electricity and the windows were open. I got bitten about fifty times that night, but I haven't gotten bitten at all this week so far. If I end up wanting a net I'll let you know. :) I enjoyed the missionary letters you sent me, but I still haven't read through them all yet. I skimmed through a couple when I first got them, but I haven't had time to read too many. It's nice to know what's going on with the other elders though. Thanks for sending them! I think my favorite gift that you sent me was the little picture display keychain with the pictures on it. I've been looking at that almost every night before I got to bed. It makes me smile and look forward to seeing you all again. :) Oh, and don't worry about the Skype, it didn't make me too homesick or anything. Of course I miss you all, but I know that I need to be here. As for requests in my next package... I really want the General Conference talks from October in English. If you can send me an Ensign or something with them I'd really appreciate it.  Love you Mom! :D

Dad: I pretty much explained above how my week went and my recent experiences. Other than that things have been fairly slow. Christmas was pretty much a work day. The only thing that was different was that we basically carolled all day long. It was pretty fun though. We are going to have transfers next Tuesday and we should know what's going on by Saturday. As of now, I don't know if I'm staying or going. I might stay with E. Westhoff or I might leave or we both might leave. I have no idea. As far as friends in the mission go, I met an Elder from Springville, Utah named Elder Shreiner. He's the tallest Elder in the mission (all my friends seem to be taller than me) and he's pretty nutty. He was one of the elders I was living with for about three weeks so we got to know each other pretty darn well. He's a funny guy and we're making plans to meet up sometime after the mission. I hope I answered all your questions. Love you tons Dad!

I just want to testify that this church is true. God really does call prophets in these latter days to guide all of us to the Celestial Kingdom. I know that Thomas S. Monson is called of God to guide this church. Above all, I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I love you all and hope you're all doing well! Enjoy the holiday break! Love you all!

Elder Sean Horrocks

Elder Horrocks and Elder Westhoff Christmas 2012 

District.  Mission President is on the right